Finding Purpose In Your Pain
Finding Purpose in your Pain
By: Laura Davis
As military wives, we are a strong group of women. We tackle everything life throws our way, whether we feel like it or not. We present a strong exterior and a unique endurance thorough difficulty. As the years pass and we become “veteran” military wives, we may even begin to allow ourselves to feel a little pride in what we’ve endured. However, if you were to be honest with yourself, what would your assessment and attitude be toward your current situation and struggles? If you’re like me, it doesn’t matter how many difficulties you’ve overcome in the past or how much pride you take in what you’ve overcome, new challenges or problems that crop up can still threaten to overwhelm you and spark a self-pity attitude, beginning with that unmistakable internal dialogue, “why are these things happening to me?”
During these times I challenge you to consider the words Paul spoke in Romans:
“…our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18 (TNIV)
We don’t commonly think of life’s challenges as sufferings, but they are. Suffering is defined as feeling pain or distress, sustaining injury or disadvantage, and even undergoing a penalty. Suffering is ugly. Your distress, your pain, your injury, whatever disadvantage or penalty you feel you have, is a form of suffering. No one wants what is unpleasant, no one searches for hardship, but Paul gives us hope in saying that what is ugly will become something beautiful. Your suffering will reveal glory. Do you know what glory is? Many times we reduce this word to mean simply praise, honor, or admiration. And while these things are good, I don’t know about you, but I’m not really seeking these things, and I certainly don’t think they’re worth what I suffer. But that is not the extent of glory. Glory is significantly more than that; it is magnificence, resplendent beauty, great splendor, and even prosperity. Your suffering has a purpose; look forward to that end result, even if you can’t imagine how it could possibly happen, know that it will.
That may sound good, you think, but it’s still not easy to stay strong through times of trouble and sadness. That is true; however know that you are not alone:
“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Romans 8:26-27 (TNIV)
We, as Christians, have strength and hope beyond what can be explained, this hope and strength comes through the power of the Holy Spirit—given to those who have accepted Christ Jesus. How amazing is that? Not only does the Spirit give us hope and strength, the Spirit also intercedes for us. Intercede…another word worthy of defining. Interceding means to act on behalf of someone in difficulty and trouble with pleading or by petition. How many times have you felt too devastated to know what to pray for, too downtrodden to even think about how to lift yourself up, in too deep of a hole to know how to get out? You know you need something, but you can’t find the words to describe it? I’m sure most of us have been there. It is in those times that we have a spiritual advocate; we have someone pleading and petitioning on our behalf. God hears us, he knows our troubles and he will deliver us. We have been given this promise:
“…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
Romans 8:28-30 (TNIV)
God has predestined you for glorification through your conformation to the image of Christ. He never predestined us to a life of ease, or a life free from trouble or difficulty. And as military wives, we know that is not what our lives are like. However, he does promise us that all things WILL work together for our good with that good being the revealing of magnificence, resplendent beauty, great splendor, and even prosperity within us and around us as we become more like Christ. Be encouraged today to resist the urge to give in to self-pity, and instead see this as an opportunity to allow God to work through your troubles to make you more like Christ.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 (TNIV)
Laura lives in Colorado with her husband and three beautiful children. She has been married 10 years and has been a proud Navy wife for the last 8 years…and counting. Her husband joined the military when she was 6 months pregnant with their second child and she earned her BS from Metropolitan State University of Denver while juggling military life and homeschooling three rambunctious children. Her journey has given her a passion to serve, support and encourage military families.
“…live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1 (TNIV)